President Uchtdorf Visits Brussels and Paris, Calls Members “Incredible”

Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor; and Valerie Johnson, Church News staff writer

  • 16 May 2016

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, meets with youth and others assembling refugee hygiene kits in Brussels May 10, 2016.

Article Highlights

  • President Uchtdorf visited France and Belgium as part of an assignment this month to Europe.
  • He addressed Latter-day Saints during member and missionary devotionals held in Paris and Brussels and visited the site of the Paris France Temple.

“The gospel of Jesus Christ connects us all and teaches us that we’re brothers and sisters.” —President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency

During a time when refugees are pouring into Europe and despite devastating terrorist attacks in their countries earlier this year, Latter-day Saints in Belgium and France are “joyful and looking forward,” said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf after visiting the countries May 10–12.

The members in Paris and Brussels “are incredible,” said President Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency.

“It is incredible how they reach out to those around [them],” he remarked in a conversation recorded on May 13 by the Church’s Public Affairs Department at the site of the Paris France Temple, which is under construction. “When bad things happen to us, it’s always a time to reach out to those who need help.”

Some of those they have helped are refugees, he said. Serving refugees coming to Europe had little to do with political discussions, but with helping our fellowmen, he explained.

One of the highlights of President Uchtdorf's visit to Brussels was meeting with young men and young women as they prepared hygiene kits for refugees.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, participate in a member and missionary devotional in Brussels on May 10, 2016.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, visit the site of the Paris France Temple on May 13, 2016.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, visit the site of the Paris France Temple on May 13, 2016.

President Thomas S. Monson’s heart reaches out to the Saints in Europe in these special circumstances, President Uchtdorf added. “I bring his love and his greetings to this beautiful place.”

President Uchtdorf and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, visited France and Belgium as part of an assignment this month to Europe.

Traveling to Brussels and Paris has felt like coming home, President Uchtdorf said. “We’re happy to be here and be close to the Saints.”

He said recent challenges in Europe have strengthened Latter-day Saints.

“The gospel of Jesus Christ connects us all and teaches us that we’re brothers and sisters. It is wonderful to be here again and feel the Spirit.”

During their visit, President and Sister Uchtdorf addressed Latter-day Saints during member and missionary devotionals held in Paris and Brussels and visited the site of the Paris France Temple.

To have a temple in Paris, France, is a “matter of faith rewarded,” President Uchtdorf said. “Over the many years in which the Saints had to travel long distances, they kept their faith and kept current their temple recommends.”

He said that many years ago, he traveled with President Gordon B. Hinckley to France. “His heart was yearning to have a temple here,” President Uchtdorf said.

Now President Monson, who followed President Hinckley as prophet, is “waiting for the moment that this temple will be dedicated.”

Sister Uchtdorf is also excited for the temple to be completed. She recalled traveling to the Swiss Temple with her mother and sister when she was a young woman. “It was amazing to have a temple in Europe,” she said. Now the temple in Paris is “a blessing for the whole country.”

“We have been blessed with President Uchtdorf’s visit,” said France Paris Mission President Frédéric J. Babin.

Serge Vandendriessche, the Church’s former National Director of Public Affairs for Belgium, said President Uchdorf’s message to the European Latter-day Saints was one of hope. He told them that every member has all the tools to stay on the path that leads to Christ. “We all speak different languages, but are all brothers and sisters, children of our Heavenly Father, fellow citizens with the Saints in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ,” said Brother Vandendriessche, recounting the message.

He said President Uchtdorf’s visit meant much to the local members.

“In the wake of [recent] terrorist attacks, President Uchtdorf chose to visit Brussels and Paris, sharing his support and delivering a message of hope.”

President Uchtdorf promised the Latter-day Saints that there is no need to fear. “Trust in the Lord and continue on the righteous path of the gospel. There’s hope in Christ,” he told the European members.

 

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, meet with youth and others assembling refugee hygiene kits in Brussels May 10, 2016.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, meet with youth and others assembling refugee hygiene kits in Brussels May 10, 2016.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, meet with youth and others assembling refugee hygiene kits in Brussels May 10, 2016.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, participates in a member and missionary devotional in Brussels on May 10, 2016.

Church members gather to listen to President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, as they participate in a member and missionary devotional in Brussels on May 10, 2016.

Church members gather to listen to President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, as they participate in a member and missionary devotional in Brussels on May 10, 2016.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, with his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, at his side, waves to members at a devotional in Brussels on May 10, 2016.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, greets Latter-day Saints gathered in Brussels May 10, 2016.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, greets Latter-day Saints gathered in Brussels May 10, 2016.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, greet Latter-day Saints gathered in Brussels May 10, 2016.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, greet Latter-day Saints gathered in Brussels May 10, 2016.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, arrive at a member and missionary devotional in Paris on May 12.

Latter-day Saints gather for a member and missionary devotional in Paris on May 12. Photo by Marjorie Bertrand.

Latter-day Saints gather for a member and missionary devotional in Paris on May 12.
Photo by Marjorie Bertrand.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, visit the site of the Paris France Temple on May 13, 2016.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, visit the site of the Paris France Temple on May 13, 2016.

Elder Paul V. Johnson, a General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Jill Johnson, visit the site of the Paris France Temple on May 13, 2016.